Jamie Dimon: Reduce Risk, Maximize Gains: The Art of Investment Decision-Making

Johnny HopkinsJamie DimonLeave a Comment

In his latest letter to shareholders, Jamie Dimon discusses the importance of decision-making and taking action. He highlights the need to find a balance between careful consideration and taking initiative. Dimon says that some decisions require thoroughness while others are better suited for a quicker approach. He also addresses the challenges of indecisiveness and offers tips to overcome them, including setting aside time to confront tough choices and following a structured decision-making process. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:

There is a time for an individual to decide and act.

Sometimes you should take the time to measure twice and cut once. And then sometimes making a quick decision is better than delaying. You should try to distinguish between the two. For example, with decisions that are hard to reverse, it’s usually better to go slow. With other decisions where you can test, learn, probe and change direction, it’s often better to go fast. It’s been my experience that it’s hard for some people to actually decide and act. This could be from analysis paralysis, lack of “perfect” information, fear of failure or the feeling that full consensus is needed before a decision can be reached. But whatever it is, it can slow down and possibly seriously damage a company.

To get people to think like decision makers and take a strong point of view, we like to ask, “What would you do if you were king or queen for a day?” It helps shift the direction to individual decision making. We also ask questions like, “What would you wish for if you knew X was going to happen?” (for example, higher interest rates). Decision making takes a mix of courage, grit and guts.

One exercise that I find useful (and sometimes painful) is to draw up a list of important decisions that need to be made — the ones I often avoid confronting. So I take time every Sunday to think about these tough issues and almost always make progress. Progress doesn’t always mean that you come to the final conclusion — sometimes it’s just a very rational next step that can put you on a path to the final decision.

Try to have a good decision-making process.

Try to give yourself the time to decide. Make sure you speak with the right people and make sure the right people are in the room. Information should be fully shared. People should be made very comfortable with open debate. Quite often, the “right” answer is simply waiting to be found — you don’t have to guess.

You can read the entire annual report here:

Jamie Dimon – 2023 Letter To Shareholders

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